Some 800,000 Displaced People to Return Home around Mid-April: Steering Committee

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Addis Ababa March 29/2019 A national steering committee led by Ministry of Peace plans to return 800,000 displaced people to their previous homes by 18 April, 2019 and all the 1.8 million displaced people in the country within 4 months.

Peace State Minister Zeynu Jemal said the committee drawn from seven ministries among others, the federal police and attorney general office aimed at creating an enabling environment where the returnees will be rehabilitated effectively.

After carrying out studies to explore the best possible way of returning the 1.8 million displaced people in the country, the steering committee came up with a three-phased plan to return all the displaced people to their homes within 4 months, he revealed.

Zeynu added that the committee is now ready to return 800,000 people by about the middle of next month.

The rest are scheduled to be returned within 4 months.

According to the state minister, the committee is tasked with ensuring peace and stability in the areas where the displaced people will return and individuals or groups who forcibly displaced them will be brought to justice.

Meanwhile, local and international communities are being mobilized to provide resources to be used for the rehabilitation of the returnees.

Recalling that 2.8 million had been internally displaced in 2018,Zeynu stated that 1.2 million of those were helped to return to their homes at the end of same year.

“However, in January and February 2019 some of the people being rehabilitated in their homes fled again from there owing to security challenges,” he disclosed, adding that there have been no new conflicts this year.

The state minister explained that some 106,000 displaced people originally from Gedeo and returned to East Gujiin the first quarter of 2019 are now displaced again like in Qimant, Amhara Region.

Inadequate rehabilitation is the other factor that has been triggering the displacement of returnees, according to Zeynu. “There had been gaps on the part of the government and international humanitarian assistance providers in this regard,” he stressed.

National Disaster and Risk Management Commission Communication Director, Debebe Zewdu said on his part that ensuring security of returnees is the first and foremost step to effectively rehabilitate them.

He argues that “the returnees displaced again at the first quarter of 2019 left their homes owing to security issues, not because of inadequate resources for rehabilitation.”

The director added that “the commission has also been providing food for the people displaced from Gedeo again since the beginning of March 2019.”

The national steering committee established to rehabilitate returnees adequately and fully is composed of representatives from Education, Agriculture, Finance, Water and Energy, Health, Peace and Defense ministries as well as the Federal Police and Office of the Attorney General among others.